Investigation Launched Concerning Looting by NOPD Officers

9 News first brought you the story of some alleged looting by NOPD officers holed up in a Canal Street hotel in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Thursday, an investigation was launched to find out if any of those officers will face charges.

Initially, 9 News crews set out to investigate the condition of some of the hospitals in and around Canal Street on that Sunday morning, but their focus quickly shifted to the Amerihost Inn and Suites. Their attention was drawn to the hotel by a man waving to them out of a second story window.

The man told WAFB's Steve Caparrota there were more than 20 people in the hotel who needed help evacuating, including children. After wading through approximately three feet of water, Caparrota met up with hotel owner Osman Khan and hotel engineer Perry Emery at the fire escape. They quickly began telling stories of New Orleans police officers holed up on the tenth floor who had allegedly been looting for several days.

When Khan attempted to show us the items he says officers had looted, including a generator from Tulane Medical Center, the apparent cop pulled the door closed. Almost immediately after the incident, the 9 News crew escorted Khan and Emery to a temporary police headquarters at the Sheraton only a few blocks away on Canal Street.

Khan told his story to an assistant commander with NOPD who at first seemed skeptical. However, when 9 News showed him the tape of the incident, the assistant commander said, "we're gonna clean this up."

Khan says no action was taken against the officers he said had gone awol in his hotel.

Thursday, at a 4:00 p.m. news conference, acting NOPD superintendent Warren Riley said an internal investigation is underway into alleged misconduct by at least 12 New Orleans cops.

"Already, I have suspended four officers in connection with the investigation and I have reassigned one officer," announced Riley. "Once the other police officers are identified who are accused of these allegations, who are accused of misconduct, an investigation will be conducted into those officers."

Reporter:  Steve Caparotta